Ensuring a Smooth Transition
T. Rowe Price takes a meticulous long-term approach to succession planning, often promoting talent from within the firm and seeking smooth transitions that are communicated to the our clients well in advance of a retirement. In the following exchange, Ken Orchard and Steve Huber talk about the process that will see Ken take over as lead portfolio manager of the Global Multisector Bond strategy (known in EMEA as Diversified Income Bond) in 2019.
Steve Huber: Ken has an interesting background: he has a lot of expertise and a lot of experience, having a background in economics, also having worked with a credit rating agency doing sovereign credit research and then coming to T. Rowe working in credit research. He is our expert on the euro zone. So through all the quantitative easing, through all the financial crisis, he has guided us through the economic environment. He has also been able to successfully transition that background into a portfolio management role. So he has very strong analytical capabilities, he’s a very thoughtful person.
Ken Orchard: The core of the portfolio management is not going to change. Steve and I are on the same global fixed income team, we’ve been on the same team for years, and we both use the same global fixed income investment process. We rely on the same team of analysts and the same sector portfolio managers in order to drive the ideas in the portfolio. So from that perspective, nothing is going to change. The only place where there may be some slight differences in the portfolio is perhaps related to my background as a sovereign credit analyst. I’m very comfortable with getting into the weeds of some of the sovereign country stories and taking slightly more concentrated positions when we have conviction there.
Steve Huber: 80% of the transition doesn’t really need to happen because Ken has been part of the portfolio management team for over five years now. Ken and I have worked together, we have worked together under the same investment process. His international portfolios and Global Multisector have the same inputs, he’s working with the same analysts as I am, he gets the same ideas I do, he gets the same inputs into the process, we’re working with the same investment systems, with the same people, so that is the hard part of the transition. And he has that by virtue of us working together for so many years.
Ken Orchard: I have been working more closely with Steve over the past year, acting as a backup portfolio manager for Global Multisector and participating in more of the team meetings there.
Steve Huber: The part that we’re focused on is transitioning him to the specifics of the Global Multisector portfolios. And in terms of the specifics, Ken is spending several weeks over in Baltimore. Ken is learning the day-to-day implementation of the strategy ideas into the portfolios. He is also working closely with the credit research teams in Baltimore, getting to know them a little bit better, and he’s also meeting the clients for Global Multisector.
Ken Orchard: The decision to shift portfolio management responsibility from Baltimore to London was based on a number of factors including the resources available in London, my background and expertise, and my relationship with Steve. However, European clients may benefit from more frequent contact due to the closer proximity.
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